Comp Plan calls for a city-village merger
The updated policy guide also proposes the consolidation of schools
Unanimously approved on November 17 by the five-member city council, the Philipstown Comprehensive Plan 2030 proposes to merge the city, Nelsonville and Cold Spring, and combine the Haldane and Garrison schools into a single district that includes the areas of Continental Village now in Westchester- based in the Lakeland district.
The document, an update and extension of the 2006 plan, is intended to guide policy for the next nine years, with revisions in between. Aided by grants and contributions from the community, a committee of volunteers worked for four years to produce the 37-page report, available at bit.ly/comp-2030.
The plan encourages Philipstown and the two villages “to consider consolidating jurisdictions to increase community cohesion and provide more equitable representation and service delivery.”
Likewise, it approves “further cooperation between school districts and / or the possibility of creating a unified Philipstown school district that serves residents of Garrison, Cold Spring, Nelsonville, North Highlands and Continental Village”.
Top 5 actions to be taken for 2022
Proposed by the compensation plan committee
1. Amend the building code to mandate the use of renewable energy for primary heating sources in new construction or renovations.
2. Establish locations for charging electric cars and mandate charging stations for new developments according to the number of parking spaces.
3. Develop a solar energy policy in line with the recommendations of Scenic Hudson’s master plan, How to Solar Now, for communities.
4. Create a community preservation plan to update the national resource protection plan using the most recent natural resource inventory and open space index and appoint an advisory board to oversee the implementation of this. plan.
5. Prevent overloading of city infrastructure by visitors. Provide alternative access to tourist attractions that does not compromise the security and privacy of residents.
The committee called the current school tax situation “complex” because rates vary widely between districts, so owners of properties of equal market value can pay very different taxes.
The plan calls for increased tax revenues “by attracting business development to locations with appropriate infrastructure,” while balancing development revenues against the costs of extending services to new homes or businesses.
Along with local consolidation, the plan proposes “responsible regionalism” partnerships to address:
- Technical and “connectivity” issues;
- Mitigation of climate change;
- Innovations in transport, such as a possible boat service between Philipstown and West Point and Highlands Falls across the Hudson River; and
- Manage the increase in tourism.
It also promotes measures to ensure that tourism and tourism-related businesses “do not threaten the character of the city or the safety and privacy of its residents”.
To maintain the rural and historic character of Philipstown and reduce pollution, he recommends:
- Preserve historic dirt roads and maintain them with materials and methods that do not harm the environment;
- The formation of an advisory committee on trees;
- Create an inventory of historic structures and sites;
- Establishment of electric car recharging sites;
- Establish a solar energy policy;
- Oblige the use of renewable energies in construction or renovation; and
- ‘Conservation development’ in new complexes to group buildings together to preserve open spaces and avoid fragmentation, as well as stricter regulations so that developments presented as conservation subdivisions live up to their name .
In addition, it recommends:
- Identification of “critical lands for preservation”
- Safeguarding aquifers, watercourses and wetlands which “help mitigate the impact of climate change”; and
- Protect water resources from septic contamination ”and road de-icing.
In addition, he advocates for small-scale food production, city-scale composting and agriculture.
Citing “a chronic need for a wide range of housing” as escalating costs threaten “the small town character,” the plan recommends, with appropriate controls:
- Increase the availability of rental and occupant homes, secondary suites, two-family and three-family residences and multi-family buildings;
- Incentives to retain housing as permanent affordable housing; and
- Policies to prevent short-term rentals – homes or apartments turned into Airbnbs and other vacation / weekend accommodation – from decreasing housing inventory.
It also promotes the adaptive reuse of structures and the concentration of new commercial developments in mixed-use or industrial areas and discourages “big-box architecture, strip commercial development and urban sprawl in general”, while welcoming home businesses; “Small village-style mixed-use centers” and professional office sites that fit “Philipstown scale” and can “decrease commute time” and “stimulate the daytime economy”.
Advocating transportation approaches that go beyond private cars, the plan calls for retaining existing equestrian trails and creating new trails for biking and walking to connect (for example) Cold Spring and Garrison Landing; Cold Spring Station, Boscobel and Constitution Marsh; and libraries, schools and other civic / public places, and to connect to regional trails. It also offers public-private partnerships to finance public transport.
To help “ensure residents are healthy” physically and mentally, the plan calls for restricting “youth access to tobacco, e-cigarettes / vape products, [and] alcohol “; ban smoking and vaping in city government buildings and parks; meet the needs of the elderly for housing, transportation, and social and medical services; encourage more health to move to the city, and improvement of recreational activities and facilities, possibly including a municipal swimming pool.
City council members praised the document.
“He paints a vision of a place where I want to be. That’s what’s exciting, ”said Councilor Jason Angell.
Nat Prentice, who chaired the volunteer committee, thanked City Council for “putting up with it” for so long.
“Now that we have it, let’s use it,” he said. The work continues, however. Even before the board approved the plan, he and other volunteers began circulating and debating a list of suggested priorities for 2022. This is “our first crack; let’s just call it that, ”Prentice told city council.